Planning for the unexpected with business continuity management

From the ServiceNow blog read the original article on the ServiceNow blog here


As a major retailer with more than 1,700 outlets, Canadian Tire needs robust business processes that continue to operate seamlessly when adverse events strike. Although the company had disaster recovery plans in IT and an established business impact analysis discipline in its business units, these processes ran on Microsoft Excel, Word, and emails—and weren’t connected.

To break down these silos and drive automation, Canadian Tire needed a unified platform that would bring everything together. The retailer had already invested in ServiceNow for IT Service Management and had a mature configuration management database (CMDB), so ServiceNow seemed like a logical choice for business continuity management.

“What I loved about ServiceNow from the beginning is its ability to connect the dots,” notes Travis West, business resiliency manager at Canadian Tire. “You really get out of it what you put in. The more processes you have in ServiceNow, the more those dots are connected.”

Strengthening IT disaster recovery

With extremely tight implementation deadlines, Canadian Tire worked with NewRocket, a ServiceNow Elite Partner, to successfully roll out ServiceNow for IT disaster recovery.

Applications are now linked to underlying infrastructure. Because these linkages are built on an existing and mature CMDB, they’re up to date and accurate, helping to ensure IT disaster recovery plans continuously track evolving infrastructure.

In addition to providing efficiencies through automation, such as automated approvals, the unified platform for processes and data simplifies key aspects of disaster recovery, including instant access to data for audits—no more hunting for data locked away in spreadsheets.

Connecting disaster recovery and business impact

Canadian Tire plans to build on its IT disaster recovery success to bring business impact analysis into ServiceNow. The retailer anticipates this will deliver additional benefits to other business units and allow IT disaster recovery to roll up seamlessly into broader business continuity plans. In essence, this will create a common language across IT and business units.

IT can’t operate in isolation, West stresses. To prioritize IT’s resilience investment and ensure application recovery objectives meet business needs, the department must know how applications support key business functions. Gaining a holistic business view with ServiceNow can empower IT to make better decisions—such as identifying when multiple business functions use an application.

Paying it forward: 3 lessons learned

Insights can be gleaned from any transformation journey. In elevating business continuity management, Canadian Tire discovered three key takeaways for any organization considering a similar undertaking:

  1. Establish clear business objectives and support. Business continuity management is more than a technology implementation project. Define your business objectives and use them as your North Star for everything you do. Work with business stakeholders to identify and agree on these objectives and find quick wins where you can deliver business value. Getting executive sponsorship is a key enabler for this.
  2. Prioritize organizational change management, especially when engaging the business. Many IT organizations are familiar with ServiceNow, but that doesn’t mean business teams are. Take time to ensure business stakeholders know what’s in it for them and how the transition will affect their processes and people. Above all, be empathetic. Recognize this is a cultural change and you need people on board to drive adoption.
  3. Identify and address data misalignments early on. Good data is essential for business continuity management. Even if you have a healthy, mature CMDB, you’ll likely need more data. For instance, you may have a comprehensive record of your applications and infrastructure, but you’ll still need to add information about your business processes. By identifying these misalignments and gaps early, Canadian Tire was able to engage in meaningful conversations about change.

Find out more about how ServiceNow Business Continuity Management can help your organization plan for and recover from disasters effectively.

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